International Day of the Girl (Child)
And about time too! You won't believe it, but last year's was the first, "Day of the Girl." The Canadians came up with the idea because the double discrimination against both gender and age was obviously not improving the lot of female humans around the planet. The children's development organisation, Plan was a part and parcel of the campaign, as it has worked on the topic for 75 years in up to 50 countries. The theme this year is, "Innovate 2 Educate," so get those bikes and minibuses on the road! The UN also got involved to establish the day, with the blessing of Ban Ki Mun himself.
Despite religious discrimination, there is no intent to offend or dispute, simply a celebration of the need for sexual equality and reduce any such discrimination. Girls' quality of life, as well as boys, is reduced in many developing countries. Economic and other effects cause the often unemployable female child to be regarded as less important than her brother. Such habits need to be discouraged, given the opportunities that are now available in every country of the world, if not in every corner of it.
Plan's own description of the day and their everyday work is in:
- enabling deprived children, their families and their communities to meet their basic needs and to increase their ability to participate in and benefit from their societies
- building relationships to increase understanding and unity among peoples of different cultures and countries
- promoting the rights and interests of the world's children.
They have enlisted the natural totem of International Day of the Girl worldwide, Malala Yousafzai. She was shot by the Taliban for simply going to school in an area where they had banned girls from schooling. This can be taken as symptomatic of the blind leading the blind. Or as far as education is concerned, one gender persuading the other into ignorance.
Another part of the action is Katy Perry, who, if you don't know her, actually kissed one of these girls! One good piece of news in July was the government of Nepal's decision to ban the practice of kalamari, or the hiring of young female servants. Similar practices are found in several nations, where people are often unaware that their traditions can be harmful to an education or a career that did not exist when they themselves were children.
65 million girls are out of school at the moment: the wasted potential is unbelievable, given the large number of female doctors, politicians and other professionals who are increasingly regarded as equal to men. Even outside education, there is discrimination as some girls are forced into factories others enter forced marriages, and a few never even reach childhood, as infants are murdered because they are the "wrong" sex. Something tells me there is a lot wrong with the world.